Cannabis Swag Regulations: What You Need to Know

May 13th 2019

Cannabis Swag Regulations: What You Need to Know

In 2018, the legal marijuana industry grew to $10.4 billion dollars in the US. That’s pretty impressive considering brands and dispensaries are severely limited when it comes to advertising and marketing.

Businesses aren’t able to advertise online, send direct mail, advertise on tv or radio, use signage that’s too big… the list goes on and on. And to complicate the issue further, as the industry continues to grow, both state and federal laws are constantly changing.

With all the restrictions on traditional marketing tactics, many businesses have turned to branded merchandise as a creative way to advertise. But even that widely accepted strategy has a few state-level regulations.

To put it simply, the struggle is real when it comes to promoting cannabis brands.

So to help you out, we’ve created a state-by-state list of regulations concerning cannabis merchandise. Take a read and make sure you’re in compliance before you order another round of branded buttons or t-shirts.

Alabama

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Alaska

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Recreational Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• No marketing that appeals to anyone under the age of 21
• No promotional activities or giveaways outside of the licensed premises
source: leafly.com


Arizona

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• None


Arkansas

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• Cultivators are completely banned from advertising or marketing their cannabis products
• Dispensaries can utilize advertising and marketing, but nothing that appeals to anyone under the age of 21
source: mjbizdaily.com


California

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Recreational Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• No marketing that appeals to anyone under the age of 21
source: leginfo.legislature.ca.gov


Colorado

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Recreational Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:

• No marketing that appeals to anyone under the age of 21
source: leafly.com


Connecticut

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• No marketing that appeals to anyone under the age of 21
• No marketing that depicts marijuana usage for anything beyond medical purposes
• No swag giveaways as a reward to patients, primary caregivers or physicians.
source: leafly.com


District of Columbia

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Recreational Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• Advertising restrictions, but no restrictions on cannabis promotional items.


Delaware

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• Advertising restrictions, but no restrictions on cannabis promotional products.


Florida

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• Advertising restrictions, but no restrictions on cannabis swag.


Georgia

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• No marketing of any kind is allowed


Hawaii

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• Advertising restrictions, but no restrictions on cannabis promotional items.


Idaho

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Illinois

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• Advertising restrictions, but no restrictions on cannabis swag.


Indiana

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Iowa

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Kansas

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Kentucky

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Louisiana

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• None


Maine

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Recreational Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• No marketing that appeals to anyone under the age of 21


Maryland

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• None


Massachusetts

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Recreational Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• No swag allowed. Dispensaries may not produce any items for sale or promotional gifts, such as T-shirts, novelty items or cannabis stickers, bearing a symbol of or references to marijuana or MIPs, including the logo of the Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD).
source: leafly.com


Michigan

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Recreational Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• None


Minnesota

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• None


Mississippi

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Missouri

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• None, but it might change. Missouri lawmakers are currently discussing regulations.
source: cannabisbusinesstimes.com

Montana

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• All marijuana or marijuana-related product advertising is restricted


Nebraska

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Nevada

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Recreational Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• No marketing that appeals to anyone under the age of 21
• Designers shall avoid using marijuana slang such as bud, pot, weed, grass, joint, doobie, 420
source: leafly.com


New Hampshire

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• Advertising restrictions, but no restrictions on cannabis promotional products.
source: leafly.com


New Jersey

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• No designs bearing a symbol or reference to marijuana leaves or slang terms
source: state.nj.us


New Mexico

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• None


New York

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• No marketing that appeals to anyone under the age of 21
• No marketing that depicts marijuana usage for anything beyond medical purposes
• No swag giveaways as a reward to patients, primary caregivers or physicians.
• Promotional, advertising and marketing materials have to be approved by the Department prior to their use
source: leafly.com


North Carolina

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


North Dakota

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• No designs bearing a symbol or reference to marijuana leaves or slang terms
source: marijuanapackaginglaws.com


Ohio

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• Distribution of branded merchandise is banned
source: codes.ohio.gov


Oklahoma

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• None, but it might change. Lawmakers are currently reviewing new regulations, so rules may change soon. The proposed bill is likely to pass, so Oklahoma dispensary will soon not be able to create marketing that appeals to anyone under the age of 21.
source: mjbizdaily.com


Oregon

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Recreational Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• No marketing that appeals to anyone under the age of 21
source: oregon.gov


Pennsylvania

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• Promotional, advertising and marketing materials have to be approved by the Department prior to their use
source: pacode.com


Rhode Island

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• None
source: foottraffik.co


South Carolina

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


South Dakota

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Tennessee

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Texas

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Utah

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• None, but it might change. House Bill 3001: Utah Medical Cannabis Act was passed just a few months ago in December of 2018. This allows the use of medical marijuana, but the state has until March 1, 2020 to implement the program. Expect rules and regulations to change as the program develops.
source: health.utah.gov


Vermont

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Recreational Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• None


Virginia

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Washington

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Recreational Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• Distribution of branded merchandise is banned
source: leafly.com


West Virginia

STATUS: Marijuana Legalized for Medicinal Use
SWAG RESTRICTIONS:
• None, but it might change. Patient cards won’t be lawfully distributed until July 2019, so restrictions may change as the program evolves.
source: wvlegislature.gov


Wisconsin

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal


Wyoming

STATUS: Marijuana Fully Illegal



Most of the state level regulations simply prohibit marketing to teens and children. In that regard, the cannabis merch restrictions are very similar to those placed on alcohol and tobacco. Others get more specific and restrict the type of imagery that is allowed, essentially banning any merchandise related to stoner culture.

But for Washington and Massachusetts, two states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana, branded cannabis accessories are completely prohibited. These type of strict regulations make it very hard for brands to differentiate themselves from their competition. But as the industry grows and evolves, these regulations are likely to change. In the future, cannabis branding and merchandise might become as omnipresent as Starbucks and Nike.

Now that you know all the rules, it’s time to get your branded cannabis merchandise.

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